Now, for the rest of the story. Yes its true that isolated individual molecules are universally the same regardless of who are what synthesized them. But this in no way means that essential oils can be re-constructed, molecule by molecule, in a lab. The reason this would be virtually impossible is because of the vast complexity of essential oils. Essential oils are almost always a collection of hundreds of molecules when you look at all the minor and trace components. The problem becomes infinitely more complex when you consider that almost every one of those components has an enantiomeric form to worry about as well. So, for example, while peppermint oil consists of 40-50% menthol and 99%+ of the menthol is the L form, there is also a small amount of its mirror image (D-menthol) in there as well. Not to mention that menthol has not one, but 3 chiral carbon atoms, so when you consider all of the diastereomers (things like iso-menthol, neo-menthol, neo-iso-menthol) along with their mirror images, there are a total of 8 menthol isomers to worry about! And this is just the molecular system of menthol (one out of close to hundred different compounds in peppermint) trying to exactly recreate the correct ratios of every enantiomer and/or diastereomer of every molecule in an essential oil would be a monumental task that is basically impossible from a practical standpoint.
I love essential oils! I use NOW Oils because they are affordable and easy to find. I think Young Living and DoTerra are over priced marketing scams. I tell everyone I use NOW. I have great success using the more reasonable priced oils and they even make some of their own blends. Highly recommend but everyone needs to find what brand works for them.
Just to give anyone interested a typical example analysis, the picture below is of a certified organic lavender that I recently analyzed for a customer. As you can see the peak at 26.435 shows camphor present at 0.25%. Also, if you want peer reviewed literature references showing that camphor should indeed be in lavender, just login to my EO Chemical Reference database and you will see plenty of detailed reports, with journal citations, confirming exactly what I am talking about.
“companies creating there own standards” is why we have certifying organizations; to ensure truth in advertising and obtainable measureable repeatable standards. If it were ok to have every company creating their own standards we’d have more problems. Oh yeah we do, Sallie and Freddie, Enron… That’s why we voted for Obama because this type of side stepping around responsibility and being honest is not acceptable. Thank you Robert, I was trying to figure out where I got this notion of “therapeutic grade” when I couldn’t find a certifying body that provided that term. I am fairly sure I got it from some YL distributor. It’s one of the reasons I value having found you and bought your books etc. You cut through the cr_p out there. Thank you.
I’ve seen many comments about using Lavender neat, mainly, on children. Just in case anyone is interested in this case study and research about Lavender and Tea Tree oils causing gynecomastia in boys. YL nor DoTerra could get me to even take a chance on using any oil neat after reading about this. Essential oils are great, but can be dangerous, no matter the maker. Respectfully. https://www.nih.gov/news-events/news-releases/lavender-tea-tree-oils-may-cause-breast-growth-boys
Essential oils can be considered, fundamentally, as medication. Although derived from plants and natural resources they are still used as treatment for health ailments. The oil’s high concentration makes them very powerful and potentially dangerous substances if used incorrectly. It is imperative that you do thorough research before using any essential oil, because if used improperly they can cause serious health issues like allergic reactions, rashes, burns and long-term internal damage. The temptation to self-diagnose and self-prescribe can be a great influence in using essential oils, but without professional diagnosis and supervision you run a risk of causing yourself harm. With that in mind here are some very important guidelines to follow:
“Therapeutic grade” is simply a marketing claim with no real independent meaning or value, and no credible third-party standards. However, the quality standards for authentication of essential oils have been long established by authoritative references. Our quality control team tests essential oils to the specifications published in The Essential Oils by Ernest Guenther, as well as Fenaroli's Handbook of Flavor Ingredients by George A. Burdock. These are the same standards used by major European distillers that are the primary suppliers of these oils to our industry.
Greetings! I'm Wendy Robbins, the founder, curator and writer for AromaWeb. I've been working with essential oils for nearly 25 years, have completed over 400 documented hours of education in the field of aromatherapy, am a Certified Aromatherapist and am a Professional Level Member of both the Alliance of International Aromatherapists and the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy. Learn more about my background and credentials.
Hi there, I just started using an e,extranio cigarette, read that if you make your own e liquids, (there’s a few kits out there) you can get read of the only scientifically detected ingredient that might pose a threat to health, this is not nicotine it’s called propylene glycol. I want to make my own liquid using just vegetable glycerin and for the aroma, I thought I could use a tiny amount of essential oils. My doubt is, a Swiss just bottle of lets say thyme, is it a 100% the me extracted oil? Or is there any other ingredient? Do you think for vaping essential oils are ok?
Do not take any oils internally and do not apply undiluted essential oils, absolutes, CO2s or other concentrated essences onto the skin without advanced essential oil knowledge or consultation from a qualified aromatherapy practitioner. If you are pregnant, epileptic, have liver damage, have cancer, or have any other medical problem, use oils only under the proper guidance of a qualified aromatherapy practitioner. Use extreme caution when using oils with children. It is safest to consult a qualified aromatherapy practitioner before using oils with children. For in-depth information on oil safety issues, read Essential Oil Safety by Robert Tisserand and Rodney Young.
research, research, research. Some oils are labeled as Generally Regarded as Safe for ingestion. Get a copy of Higley’s book ” Reference Guide to Essential Oils ” and other guides on how to use your oils. I am not a fan but some people swear by it. The books and research will help you know what you can and cannot ingest, how it is recommended that you ingest it, and so on. Do not let the naysayers frighten you. Learn all you can and use facts to make your decisions. I use EOs daily but I prefer them topically and aromatically. You need to decide for yourself what ways your EOs best work for you.
For some years now I have been applying several drops each of undiluted pure essential oils patchouli, ylang ylang, sandalwood and cedarwood to my neck and throat after a shower, and the fragrance is wonderful, but as a bonus this same fragrance comes up from the toilet bowl every time I do a dump. To confirm I wasn’t imagining it, the first time it happened I smelt the loo paper after the first wipe and there was the fragrance of all those essential oils. Why is this, and has anyone else had the same experience ? I must be one of the very few people in the world who can say that not only does their shit not stink, but that it is exotically perfumed !

In summary, I think the chemical evidence is pretty clear that sclareol is not a steroidal estrogen, does not mimic the function of any estrogen molecules, does not stimulate estrogen production (why would it?), and would not appear to have any mechanism by which it can “balance hormones” at least not by a pathway that has anything to do with estrogens. If you see anyone making these types of claims, simply ask them to site the research that can propose a chemical mechanism that is remotely plausible to accomplish any of these tasks. I don’t think they will be able to produce anything credible to support the claims. If clary sage oil does actually work in any of the above capacities then it has to do it by some other mechanism, unrelated to how estrogens perform in the body. I am not saying that it’s impossible that clary sage can have some of the effects that have been claimed, but just be aware that its not really possible that the oil can mimic estrogens or that the oil contains estrogen like molecules.

Nicole – this has been a controversial issue for most of my lifetime, and still is – so there’s no simple answer. Let me put it this way – I know someone who died needlessly because she thought she could treat herself with essential oils. But generally, I don’t have a problem with people self-treating. What I do have a problem with is people treating others medicinally when they don’t understand the pharmacology and toxicology of essential oils, or the pathology of disease. Some of the risks include mucous membrane irritation, fetal damage in pregnancy, drug interactions, and seizures. When oils are taken orally, or otherwise used intensively, these risks all increase.
Yes we all agree that there is no independent standard forTherapeutic Grade that is universally recognized. And while you may not like the promotion ofTherapeutic Grade by various companies, it’s not really correct to say that “thereis no such thing as Therapeutic Grade.” Ithink a better response to those promoting such an idea would be to say”while many companies promote their own therapeutic grade standard, oneshould be aware that there is no universally accepted independent body thatcertifies essential oils as therapeutic grade.” That is a fairstatement that is factually correct that nobody can disagree with and will notcause dialog to shut down between those in the direct marketing companies andthose on the more traditional side of aromatherapy.
“Quality essential oils” can mean many things, depending on how you intend to use the oils. To a perfume formulator, geranium essential oil spiked with artificial chemicals to enhance the fragrance might be considered a “quality essential oil”. To a massage therapist, a natural lavender oil diluted in a soothing base might be considered a high quality essential oil. To a doctor addressing bacterial challenges, only a truly pure, medicinal strength, wild crafted oregano oil that is high in natural carvacrol content would be considered a quality essential oil.
Floracopeia is another small, independently-owned company with very ethical roots. Started in 2004 in Grass Valley, CA by David and Sara Crow, Floracopeia is our second-best essential oil company. Like Stillpoint, they have strong personal relationships with their distillers; they will even get their hands dirty as they help harvest the plants for extraction when they visit.

In a Chinese study, an ointment containing 5% tea tree oil was used by patients whose eyelash follicles were infested with “eyelash mites” (Demodex folliculorum). The ointment was applied to the lid margins with eyes closed, daily for 4 weeks after washing the face, and resulted in considerably less itching and fewer mites. Two of the 24 patients experienced slight irritation from the ointment. The 5% concentration was arrived at after preliminary testing using various dilutions on rabbit eyes (Gao et al 2012).
So why is clary sage oil said to have estrogen like properties? It all has to do with a component found in the oil called Sclareol. So why is sclareol not a good candidate to have estrogen like properties? First of all sclareol is actually a very minute component of the essential oil of clary sage despite some authors claiming that sclareol is present in clary sage oil at 1.6-7.0%, an utterly ridiculous claim. Almost all steam distilled clary sage oils on the market (I would say 99.9% of them) have less than 0.5% sclareol content. As sclareol is a relatively heavy molecule, its really very difficult to get sclareol above that level with conventional steam distillation. To get the level higher, some proprietary distillation processes have to be implored and most companies will not go to that trouble because the sclareol is a valuable precursor to a very important molecule in the synthetic fragrance industry and not deemed important to the essential oil.
Another added benefit of diffusion is its ability to clean the air. When the air in a space is stagnant, smelly and unclean — like in the winter when your home is closed up — there can be infectious airborne bacteria, viruses and spores floating about ready to make you sick. But when the right essential oil is diffused, in the correct amount, you can actually kill those little buggers in the air before they get to you.

As for blemishes and other skin irritations, there are plenty of options as well. Tea tree oil is an editor-loved remedy for shriveling up zits in a matter of hours, especially since it's one of the only essential oils (along with lavender) that can safely be applied directly to skin. Dab a few drops on a blemish to zap bacteria and soothe any redness. Got angry, inflammed skin from a sunburn, rosacea, or other sensitivities? Mist on some rosewater or a lavender hydrosol for instant relief. 

Great resource! It’s so important to understand the difference between essential oils and “real” — oils, seed oils, carrier oils, fixed oils — are there other names? I’m not sure. Both are wonderful, but they are so so different in structure and application. I’ve noticed a fair amount of misinformation going around where essential oils and carrier oils written about as the same thing or interchangeable. Your clear description is super valuable.


I am confused on your list of EOs to avoid while nursing or pregnant. Many of these oils I have never heard being issues. I use Lemon oil regularly and ginger as well, as a nursing mother. Could you perhaps list effects of each oil for breastfeeding mothers ? I know peppermint reduces production but confused on most of the others…. you listed ” Aniseed, cedarwood, chamomile, cinnamon, clary sage, clove, ginger, jasmine, lemon, nutmeg, rosemary, sage” I use several on this list currently and was about to put in a YL order for clary sage

I would highly recommend that anyone who is interested in essential oil toxicity to read this article regarding safety, including ingestion or neat application. I found it to be very helpful. It is a comprehensive article that was also published in an aromatherapy journal. Ron Guba, the author, is a well known Australian aromatherapist. http://www.agoraindex.org/Frag_Dem/toxicitymyths.html
If you dilute an essential oil with a carrier oil to do the “patch test” to see if you are sensitive to the essential oil, and you get a reaction, you could be reacting to the carrier oil. Whatever essential oils you use, you should follow the information that comes with it. If it doesn’t come with any guidelines on the label, I would not use it at all. Some are safe to ingest, some are not. Some need to be diluted, some do not (except on babies and small children, when you should dilute).
Frankincense calms the digestive and nervous systems, and relieves anxiety and emotional upsets, just rub a few drops behind your ears and on wrists to ease stress. Use a diffuser in your room to uplift your mood. Frankincense is a great essential oil to help heal burns, scrapes, cuts, and oozing sores. Just add a few drops to a base such as coconut oil and rub into the broken skin. Add a few drops to a handkerchief and inhale to relieve nasal congestion.
Supercritical carbon dioxide is used as a solvent in supercritical fluid extraction. This method can avoid petrochemical residues in the product and the loss of some "top notes" when steam distillation is used. It does not yield an absolute directly. The supercritical carbon dioxide will extract both the waxes and the essential oils that make up the concrete. Subsequent processing with liquid carbon dioxide, achieved in the same extractor by merely lowering the extraction temperature, will separate the waxes from the essential oils. This lower temperature process prevents the decomposition and denaturing of compounds. When the extraction is complete, the pressure is reduced to ambient and the carbon dioxide reverts to a gas, leaving no residue.
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